Thoughts to Ponder

“Live today by the Buddha’s words:

‘You could search the whole world and never find anyone as

deserving of your love as yourself.'”

Martha Beck*

We’ve heard similar words in many forms over the years. “Love your enemy as yourself.” “Be good to yourself.” And many more.

Most of us do this occasionally. Many of us go through our day saying to ourselves, “That was a dumb thing to do.” “I can’t do that, I don’t know how.” “I wish my hair was curly, less gray, smoother, longer, shorter….” “My nose it too long, wide, drippy….” We all have our private lists of what is wrong with us.

What if we turned that practice around? “I did a good job dusting. The house looks nicer now.” “I handled that difficult situation well.” Do you think that might change our outlook on life?

I’ve tried it and it works – very well – when I remember to do it. Sometimes I fall into a gloomy pit and everything seems wrong and unchangeable. The longer I’m in the pit the worse everything looks. My hair is wrong. I don’t have enough energy. I make too many mistakes. A good friend brought me food gifts. I thought she just felt sorry for this beaten-down woman who couldn’t afford to own food. This winter and spring I was deep in that pit, and life was a drain on my body and soul.

I’m not sure what caused the turn around. I think I was just tired of being tired. I told myself to look and act on the bright side. I asked Higher Power to nudge me along the right path. Soon, I found myself saying things like: “I did dishes today and the kitchen looks nice.” “I did laundry and the clean clothes feel good.” After a while I could say, “I solved that problem. Good job.” “I handled that situation well and both of us are satisfied.”

I till have a long way to go to be the person I’d like to be. But, I’ve come far enough that the world seems a kinder, safer place. My friends and relatives are more supportive and loving. My friend still brings me food gifts. Now, I realize she is a kind, thoughtful person, and I receive the gifts with joy and gratitude. Yesterday she gave me four green tomatoes. I grinned from ear to ear and cried, “How wonderful! I can enjoy a couple meals of fried green tomatoes. Thank you.!” We both came out of that encounter feeling better.

Spirit: Thank you for nudging me to change my attitude. I know that life will be better from now on. I’ll still have situations to overcome, but they’re not so daunting if I look at them as challenges rather than disasters.”

 

 

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And that has made all the difference

Thoughts to Ponder

April 8, 2016

“…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the road less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost*

As we travel through our days sometimes the road is a smooth, easy, lovely ride. Other times we hit small bumps or potholes that damage our egos and indicate that we are traveling the wrong road and need to make a detour, sooner rather than later. We can keep driving down that road until our car is wrecked and our souls are bleeding.

Why do we continue this disastrous pattern? Often we don’t see another road we cab travel. Or we see an alternate road but are afraid to make the turn because the old road is familiar. We know where the bumpy road will take us. We don’t know what will happen if we change directions.

Those fears are valid. We don’t know where the new road will take us. Often we are taught from childhood that we must follow a certain path, no matter what. Fear of change can be a generational roadblock. Other parents teach their children to go for the prize. A friend once told me that he was taught to shoot for the stars and if he only reached the moon he’d still be further than had he remained Earth bound.

My own upbringing was more along the fearful lines. If I were to step out of my role something terrible would happen. I would live to regret my rash behavior. I believed that for many situations, like speaking up at work, but in others I took chances and am glad I did. I had to change my direction several times. While many decisions had serious repercussions they always came with a gift that made my life better.

Some examples:

  • My first marriage was a disaster, but my three wonderful children made life worthwhile.
  • I left that marriage not knowing what might happen and learned that I was capable of earning a living for my young family.
  • After my children were grown I enrolled in an elite college with only $25 dollars in my pocket. I graduated at age 47 with less student debt than anticipated. That degree led to better jobs.
  • At 55 I chose early retirement and a severely reduced benefit to move across the country to live near my daughters. That move allowed me to watch my grandchildren reach adulthood and give me four great-grandsons that are the delight of my life. And, another baby is on the way.
  • In 2013 my favorite online inspirational writer chose to close her blog. Uncharacteristically, I chose to continue her work with Thoughts to Ponder. While my following is not as large as hers, the number is growing. Most of all I feel satisfaction in doing my part to make the world a more peaceful place.

All that is a long way to say that it is never too late to change directions. I’m now looking for other ways to expand my life and new roads to travel. If I don’t fly among the stars I’m still a lot further than if I’d never started this journey.

I urge you to take a risk and take “the road less travelled.” You may face some unpleasant situations but you will have gained so much more.

Spirit,

Thank you for showing us that we have options. We can change directions as often as necessary to reach our goals. By exploring new roads we learn that we have talents we never expected. Those talents will lead us down more roads and to new adventures. Those choices might not all lead to the stars, but they will certainly get us further on our journey than if we stay focused on the potholes in front of us.

And, so it is.

*Frost, Robert, “The Road not Taken,” in Mountain Interval, 1916.

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Watch your thoughts

Thoughts to Ponder – March 6, 2016

 “The way to start changing your mind is not to

force it or command it but to watch it.”

Martha Beck*

 Many of us have been told since we were small children that if we want something we need to work hard and stay focused. That tactic often leads to frustration rather than to adjusting our thinking or obtaining peace of mind.

I’ve learned, the hard way, that when I want to change my behavior I do not succeed on determination alone. For example, I may decide to exercise more and even purchase a gym membership. But, I seldom go to the gym unless I have an exercise partner who keeps reminding me that it’s workout day.

However, if I say to myself and the Universe, “I’d like to get more exercise,” and not worry about how that will happen, I find that situations arise that require muscle use. Perhaps a storm comes and I need to rake the yard and carry debris to the compost pile. Possibly, I’ll need a small item or two from the store. I usually say, “That’s not worth driving the car. I’ll walk to the store.”

The same applies to eating healthy food. If I decide to diet all sorts of tempting yummies pop up in front of my face and call my name. If I say, “I choose to eat healthy,’ and release the outcome, I find that my food choices are healthier, even when tempting desserts are on the table.

One of my biggest problems was to see certain people in the light of what they did to me. That trait caused me mental and physical anguish over the years. What we think about becomes evident in our bodies with chronic headaches, back aches, compulsive eating and other issues. So how do we reverse those situations and let go of the physical pain? We must realize that we choose to experience our life as it is. I know this gets into the whoo-whoo view of life, but I’ve found it makes sense.

For example, I was married twice – to jerks. Whose decision was that? Mine. Different people suggested that perhaps these men were not the best choice, but I chose not to listen. Unhappy work experiences – the same. Just because a job pays more money doesn’t mean it will give more satisfaction. An unhappy person tends to take it out on others. They react in kind. All these events seemed to prove that everyone was conspiring to make me miserable.

Eventually, I learned that my thoughts and actions were creating these unpleasant experiences. When I became aware that, just perhaps, my complaining caused people to dislike my company, I asked the Universe to help me complain less. When I realized that I had an option other than fearing what awaited me at home, I asked myself and if there was a way to leave the situation.

As far as my parents were concerned, well, they treated me better than they had been treated.

I repeated the “tradition” with my children. Even thought I became aware of other options, I just didn’t know how to implement them, Sometimes I was so frustrated by life that I took it out on them. Just knowing that there were other ways to raise children, gave me the impetus to change. I told myself and the Universe that I wanted to be a better parent. Parenting books came to my attention. School counselors suggested a better way. Little by little I improved my skills. I still made a lot of mistakes, but I must have changed some, because my children are now an important part of my life.

Situations don’t come into our lives to give us grief, even though it often seems that way. Events happen to help us grow into the people we are capable of being. It’s our choice how we respond to those events. We can fall into the poor me pit or we can chose to find a solution. I know this is true, because I spent many years in that nasty pit. It was only when I wanted to find a way out that I began to see a little blue sky here or a ray of sun there. I was able to start climbing up to the surface. I’m not dancing on sunshine yet, but I’m beginning to hear a few notes from the band.

I used a lot of words to say that when you want to change the easiest way is to state your problem to yourself and the Universe. Part two is to not worry about how and release the outcome. Step three is to do something else while you are waiting for the miracle. Mike Dooley expressed it well in a recent message from the Universe.

“Often the very most spiritual thing one can do is get busy. Physically busy.

Hoeing, chopping, planting. Connecting, moving, grooving. Dipping, swirling, twirling….”**

Spirit,

Sometimes we are sunk in despair up to our necks and see no way out. We ask you to show us how to move from fear and anger toward joy. We know it may be a short step or a long walk. Either way we know that if we ask for an option it will come into our awareness and prompt us to necessary action.

And, so it is.

*Beck, Martha, Daily Inspiration, info@marthabeck.com, February 26, 2016

**Dooley, Mike, TUT – A note from the Universe, theuniverse@tut.com, March 4, 2016

© by Sharon D. Dillon, March 6, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com.

Laughter is a gift

Thoughts to Ponder – February 5, 2016

“Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep,
tinged through with seriousness … the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.”

Sean O’Casey*

We often look at life as a serious situation. We’re born, live a tough life, then we die. What is there to laugh at? Everything.

My father was filled with anger and sadness, as were most men of his generation. They grew up during the Great Depression and survived horrendous circumstances in World War II. What was there to laugh at? Yet, if you attended any of our family reunions you would find the men outside under a shade tree laughing so hard we could hear it from some distance away. What they found funny is a puzzle, because children were not privy to their conversations.

Sometimes we could talk them into going down to the creek with us to see what lurked under the water. While supposedly condescending to amuse the children, one of them would begin splashing us and we all ended up in a big water fight. When called for dinner we’d all slosh back up the hill and see our mothers standing on the porch laughing at us.

When asked how he was feeling, my dad would always respond, “With my fingers.” Dad used say that men didn’t like skinny women. They wanted one “with a little meat on their bones.” Invariably my mom would ask, “So why did you marry the skinniest woman in the county?” His response, “I fattened you up a bit, didn’t I?”

As a child I couldn’t understand why Dad was sometimes funny and sometimes angry. When I became an adult I saw many of the same traits in myself and assumed it was an inherited disposition. As life progressed I began to understand that on one level laughter was a coping mechanism. Dad was living that part of the quote, “tinged through with seriousness…”

As I grew older I began to learn about letting go of old pain. I found that the more pain I released the quality of my laughter changed. Instead of laughing to release pain, I now laugh from pure joy. What a gift to laugh just because my great-grandsons give me hugs or I see a friend. How joyous to laugh with delight because the sun is shining on my face and creating shadows under the trees. I’m so grateful that I’ve moved forward to “the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.” 

While O’Casey didn’t mention it, laughter is a great way to connect with others. Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone is working hard to protect his or her turf? You can feel that the people are disconnected from each other. Then someone tells a joke. As everyone laughs, the distance melts and the group begins to work as a team.

Spirit,

Thank you for the gift of laughter and learning that laughter can help us in so many ways. It can release pain. It is a way to connect with others. It is a way to express joy. We laugh with joy that we are alive while we laugh at the funny things humans do every day.

And, so it is.

* Originally John O’Casey (1880-1964), Irish playwright, Green Crows, “Saturday Night, 1956

© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 5, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com.

Listen to your heart

Thoughts to Ponder – October 21, 2015

“Listen to your heart. It knows all things,

because it came from the Soul of the World,

and it will one day return there.”

The Alchemist*

 

Listening to our hearts is often difficult. Some people do it instinctively. Regrettably, most of us tend to listen to outside voices, rather than our hearts and bodies.

Just watch a newborn and you will see that he knows what he needs. She cries when she is hungry and automatically turns to her mother’s breast. He cries when he is wet and we respond by changing his diaper. Of course, we’ve all experienced times when neither the bottle nor the diaper meet the baby’s needs and we pace the floor for hours trying to soothe her. The baby knows what he needs, but we are thinking in adult mode, so are unable to provide it.

As we grow we are taught to conform to expected norms. We sit still in school, do our homework, then sit in front of the television because our parents fear what lies outside. I’m not saying that the fear is unreasonable. It just doesn’t fit what our bodies and hearts need.

We continue to grow along those patterns and follow anticipated social norms. Then one day we are adults who don’t know what we want to do, just that what we are doing doesn’t feel right. We are unhappy and make those around us unhappy. Too many souls return to the Universe with sad hearts.

Some of us rebel and are considered learning disabled or socially unacceptable. Many people who contribute scientific discoveries or beauty to our world are slotted into that category.

Some of us don’t comprehend our path until we are older and have to dig down into our souls to find the courage to follow our hearts. The change can be difficult, but rewarding with old worries, heavy hearts and body pains fading away as we begin follow our new, but original paths.

A few of us are fortunate to understand our calling while still children and are encouraged by those around us to follow our hearts. What a joy to live that life!

If we as adults can learn to follow our hearts we will raise a whole generation of children who live according to their hearts. Can you imagine how wonderful that will be?

Spirit,

Please open our souls to hear to our hearts calling. We know they never stopped calling. We stopped listening. We choose to live according to our heart knowledge, realizing that we and everyone around us will be happier. We choose to return to the Universe with happy hearts.

And, so it is.

* The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, pg. 132, HarperCollins Publishers

© by Sharon D. Dillon, October 21, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com.

Thoughts to Ponder – April 29, 2015

“Don’t worry about losing your way.
If you do, pain will remind you to find your path again.
Joy will let you know when you are back on it.”
Martha Beck*

We all feel lost at some time in our lives. Even those who appear to have their lives in perfect order have felt lost, but have found their way back to their true path. Some are fortunate to know their future goal from the time they are children and follow the path that will take them there. Others found their path as young adults. Some of us find our path late in life after stumbling around and banging our heads into trees that stand in our way.

As Beck says, “pain will remind you to find your path again.” I’ve felt that pain over and over, not knowing what direction I should be travelling. That’s not to say that each path has been a disaster. On the contrary, each path has given me gifts and taught me valuable lessons. One path gave me three beautiful children who grew to be fantastic adults. Another path taught me about inter-racial relations. One taught me about holding on to useless hope. The list continues. Often I tried to walk two or three paths at once. Talk about confusion.

If we follow our inner guidance, we reach the day when Beck says, “Joy will let you know when you are back on it.” What a gift to know that we are spending our days as we should. A feeling of peace and joy will fill our hours rather than fear and dread.

Some days I still feel bogged down, but find that I’ve just reached a huge mud-puddle in the middle of my path. I have learned, but don’t always remember right away, to look around and see what steps I can take to avoid the mess. I give thanks to Spirit that when this happens and I feel confused, a prompting tells me, “Hey look over here. There’s a plank crossing the mud puddle. You can walk on that rather than slogging through that mess.”

Our life does not come with a guarantee for happiness. Even those we envy have days, weeks, or years of heartbreak and challenges. We can learn to examine those times to learn if this is an obstacle we should avoid or one that will lead us to a better way of living. By being quiet and listening to guidance, paying attention to the underlying messages in our dreams and just listening to others, we learn whether we are on the correct path or if we need to look for another route.

And, so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, April 29, 2015

*Daily Inspiration, April 29, 2015, from “Leaving the Saints” by Martha Beck, Inc.

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Step off the cliff

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,

but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Maria Robinson

 Some of us have lived several decades, others only a few years. Most of us have regrets. Some allow those regrets to shape our lives. Others have allowed “words of wisdom” to forever shape our lives and our futures.

Those thoughts have influenced our decisions, sometimes for good or bad. My dad used to say, “Once you are in debt, you are always in debt.” That was his experience. However, after his retirement he and my mom sold their tiny house and moved into a low-income senior community. They paid all their bills and paid cash for their first new car. They were able to take a few budget vacations and live more comfortably. While their life seemed Spartan to others, it was good for them. Retirement allowed them to make a new beginning.

A few years ago a relative I hadn’t seen for many years made contact. While reconnecting was a joyful experience, I couldn’t help feeling sad for her. During that and subsequent conversations, she stated firmly, “—- has always been this way and will always be this way.” She had experienced unpleasant events and was filled with anger.

She was convinced that since these situations had been her past, they would be her future, not allowing new experiences to come into her life. The last time I saw her, another disaster had befallen her family and she was bowed under the weight of more responsibility. I hope that the fairies will clean her window so she can see a brighter future.

Life was similar for me for years. I saw life as one crisis after another with little happiness between. Even joyful events seemed to have time limits. However, something within me, encouraged me to take a risk and another and another. Some brought me a measure of joy, some brought painful lessons. Yet . . . .

The past 15 years have shown me that lasting change is not events, but thoughts. We can choose to feel trapped or to see a path leading into a sunnier future. Not all my choices have turned out as I wished, but they all led me forward. This last year I’ve faced several minor health crises that initially made me feel afraid. However, as I proceeded through diagnoses and treatments, I saw that each crisis resolved a long standing health issue allowing me to move forward with more energy and enthusiasm.

For example, a few weeks ago I saw a podiatrist for an ingrown toe nail. She provided standard treatment and asked a few questions. She then added a pad to my arch support that allows me to stand straighter. Not only is my toe healing without stress, but also my steps are straighter and more sure. No more wobbling. No more fear of falling.

Last evening during meditation my guides took me on a trip. The details aren’t important. The lesson is. They showed me is that it is safe to step off a cliff, metaphorically speaking. If I’m brave enough to take that next step, adventure and joy will follow. Just as my health issues are resolving themselves day by day, my courage can also grow if I let it. When my courage grows, my joy will grow.

Creator Spirit,

Thank you for these lessons, even those that come with bumps and bruises. Each lesson brings us closer to learning that peace, love and joy is all there is. You are showing us that we can only experience the best life has to offer – if we are brave enough to take that next step, whatever it might be. Open our windows to the world and show us that our past does not have to be our future.

And so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, January 29, 2015

If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” please suggest that he or she contact me at: energywriter@cox.net

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com